Women have fought hard to be viewed as an equal asset in the business world going back to the early efforts of Suffrage. It has been a long fight that continues in efforts towards equal pay, rights, and advancement within our military despite sex.
Obamacare has outlined requirements for businesses to provide healthcare and medication to all workers. Unfortunately, many businesses have stepped up to say that they should not be obligated to provide birth control for their female workers. Many of these businesses will provide a vasectomy for men as well as sexual performance enhancement drugs.
The reason that many of these businesses state that they should not be required to provide birth control is that they feel it is against the religious beliefs of many of their workers. It is unlikely that any of these companies took the time to poll their workers in order to make such a broad statement. This also throws in the face the idea that businesses are separate from church. These are not non-profit religious organizations, but for-profit businesses that are forcing their religious blanket over their company in a way that suffocates the future of women workers. Do I feel that these companies are truly doing something with an eye toward religious belief? I find it unlikely that so many have this specific focus instead of the focus on their bottom-line.
Aside from this blatant abuse of power by corporations that we should be able to view as mentors and pillars of our communities, they neglect one very specific detail: for many woman, birth control is not optional, but necessary.
There are many medical issues among women that require birth control. For myself, Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrom (PCOS) uses birth control to remedy many of the problems caused by this hormonally-based issue. Birth control regulates female hormones that cause an insulin imbalance for PCOS sufferers as well as giving much-needed hope for many: the possibility to stem infertility caused by hormonal imbalance.
Without birth control, women like me would have greater issues than just protecting from pregnancy. The pain and depression that is part of the hormonal issues associated with PCOS and other female disorders can be disabling in the work place as well as efforts to live a normal life. Denying coverage of this necessary medicine is not only reprehensible, but heartless. There is absolutely no reason for businesses to deny medicine to any workers or to make a broad, generalized statement against one group’s overall wellness.
If a business needs to understand why birth control is so necessary, have them go without pain medicine during a procedure so that they can feel the level of agony that many women suffer without birth control on a monthly basis. It is not an exaggeration to say that levels of hormonal imbalance is torture.
It is unfortunate that many businesses have not bothered to walk in a woman’s shoes. They would then see that birth control is not “optional” or can be thrown into an ethical idea of “religion” without serious repercussions for all.